Chatter #55: December 27, 2001

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

Diabolic Diablo

In a somewhat self-serving move I picked up three copies of Diablo (1, of course) and am giving them to three real-world roleplaying friends. I'm taking a bit of a risk writing this, actually, since I haven't finished all of my holiday gift-giving; but since it's pretty unlikely that the friends in question will read this site in the next few days (or maybe ever), it's really not that big a deal.

Of course, it wouldn't be a big deal if they DID see it. I mean, it's only a game!

I'm hoping, of course, that they'll play with me online. Diablo is so much like a basic D&D dungeon crawl that it's scary. It's not conducive to real roleplaying, but then sometimes an old-fashioned dungeon crawl can be just the ticket! I only hope that I can restrain myself from pressuring them to play; I'm sure that could become obnoxious, and then they might not want to play at all. So I'll be working on my self-restraint.

As it stands, any time I'm online at I go in through the US West portal, even though I'm on the east coast of the US; the Diablo Strategy & Tactics people all come in through the West gateway, and they're the largest (maybe only) group of non-cheating players.

When I make a world I call it "Safe", and the password is "qwerty". Of course I'll create a new 1st-level character once I have some people to game with! In the meantime, I'm playing "Bob (NM)", a fairly high-level naked mage (who recently beat Diablo on the first level. Got my dot!).

Vote Attack

The site has gone way down in the EffieRover ratings over the past month—we're down to number 28! In part that's because there are a lot of new sites popping into the ratings, and it's easy to have a great average when you only have a few dozen votes; eventually those sites will be driven into a more normal range.

However, I strongly suspect—heck, I'm sure—that some people are deliberately voting against other sites, including this one, in order to drive up their own ratings. Which still annoys me, childish though it is. On the other hand, EffieRover drives a fair amount of readers here!

Just a reminder that you can vote there once a day...

Grey Company

I was doing a little bored-time web surfing a few days ago, and came across a site that included a fair amount of material about the Grey Company in the city of Pavis. That's my scenario, of course (although the material on the site was mostly new stuff based on my concepts), but I remembered that I'd been asked for permission by someone to use the idea of TCG for their own scenario and web page—and that they'd give me credit and a link.

The site was a nice one run by Ian Thompson, the guy who'd asked permission—but I was surprised to see no credit and no link. Even more surprising was the discovery that there has been a book printed with Grey Company material, again apparently without credit to me or mention of this site. It's called The Masks of Pavis.

There was also a slightly rewritten version of the Dragonewt Effects article on the site, again without a credit.

I tend to be something of a doormat, but thought I'd better drop Ian a line. His response came pretty quickly; the site was a "ghost" site. He'd moved to a new ISP, but for some reason the old one hadn't taken down the site yet. The new site wasn't really up yet, but he didn't have access to the old one; there wasn't anything he could do about that. He'd include a credit to me on the Grey Company once the new site was up, but since he was discontinuing the links section there would be no link. Likewise, he wasn't going to put the Dragonewt article up on the new site, so no credit would be needed. Lastly, he'd meant to put a credit to me in the Masks publication, but forgot; I should have received a free issue, but they'd forgotten. Of course they can't add a credit since all of the issues are already printed and distributed. No issues are left, so they'll send me a copy of the next issue. I don't know if that will have any Grey Company material in it.

I'm not sure what to make of all this, nor what (if anything) I should do about it; but I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I'm very proud of the ideas in The Grey Company, and that it was my original creation. As was the Dragonewt piece.

The Boy

At 11 weeks and six days JSM is growing like a weed. He's getting a bit pudgy, but all the cuter for it; the colic situation is improving, although today was a bad day. He likes to sit up these days, and looks at things much more. For example, he used to be completely unaware of the animal mobile that hangs over his crib; now he often stares at it, smiles, and makes cute talking noises.

His vocabulary has grown quite a bit, actually. He makes long strings of cooing baby-talk, and sometimes still whispers "Hi!". His face gets more expressive every day; I wish I could post some of the pictures I have of him pouting or laughing. Best of all, he has taken to occasionally sleeping all through the night! One big meal between 7 - 9PM, and he's asleep until 6 or 7AM. It's pretty amazing. Although when he wakes up at 4AM there's something special about it; he makes little creaky-cranky sounds, and when he sees me or Teri he gives us HUGE happy-baby smiles.

It's funny, but almost every other baby I see looks malformed and ugly compared to him. This could be the usual parents' reaction, but I think not; I can recognize beauty in other people's babies even now. But JSM is an exceptionally cute baby, with a strong brow, perfect skin, and irresistibly plump cheeks.

I'll be sorry when he loses those cheeks! Although I've retained mine, so who knows?


January 18 is just around the corner, which means that the Arisia convention is coming up fast. Unfortunately Teri and the baby will not be with me this year; he's just too young. I'll have a hotel room by myself, I guess. Oh well—I'll miss them terribly, but maybe I'll get to see more of the con. I always end up leaving feeling as if I've missed a ton of things!

Speaking of Arisia, I received my panel assignments. To my surprise and disappointment, there were only four! I like panels, and wish I could do more of them. Maybe if I get some stories published they'll put me on more...of course, I'd need to write some stories first.

Here are my panels:

Fanzines and the Internet Sat / 1 PM Gloucester
Staying a Gamer Sat / 11 AM Thoreau
As You Know, Bob...The use of infodumps in gaming (moderator) Sat / 4 PM Holmes
Killing Player Characters Sun / 10 AM Charles


Sad news: it looks as if the Interregnum APA is on the point of death. IR was my baby, and in some ways I am responsible for its decline, and right now it's a little too hard to talk about this. I am hoping for some sort of web-afterlife; maybe a web ring. But we'll see what other IR people have to say.

Very happy holidays to you all!

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[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: January 02, 2002. version 1.1